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EMI — Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You 220

33rpm writes "EMI has told online music stores that selling its catalog without DRM is going to cost them a lot of money. 'EMI is the only major record label to seriously consider abandoning the disaster that is DRM, but earlier reports that focused on the company's reformist attitude apparently missed the mark: EMI is willing to lose the DRM, but they demand a considerable advance payment to make it happen. EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they're asking.'"
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EMI — Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You

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  • by jackhitrov ( 977971 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:53PM (#18155490)
    Read this: Emmy Noether on DRM []
  • Par for the course (Score:5, Informative)

    by glenstar ( 569572 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:59PM (#18156588)
    As someone who has intimate knowledge of how the entire licensing thing goes between the majors and a digital music provider let me just say that this is in no way shocking. The labels will take as large an advance as they possibly can and it is really a matter of whose legal counsel is better. A couple of years ago there was no way you could license all of the (available) major label content for under 500k... unless you paid one of the better known music industry lawyers a couple hundred K. There are only a half-dozen big shot lawyers in the music biz and they tend to play both sides of the field... and charge whatever the hell they feel like.

    The contracts for the labels are all wildly different but all of them consist of at least technical due diligence (what are YOU going to do to make sure OUR content does not fall into the wrong hands), financial due diligence, and a marketing plan. This is heavy stuff and can takes months and months to push through. In short, this is a very time-consuming and spendy process to go through.

    EMI, under the digital music strategy of Ted Cohen, has far and away been the most open of the majors when it comes to licensing. They are simply making an attempt to protect their assets... since it takes so much effort on both sides to conclude a licensing agreement, it makes sense that they (the majors) want to recoup as much of that investment up-front as they possibly can.

    People on Slashdot get this wrong all of the time. You see, the majors and the digital music services are in a death-match, with the DMS being hounded by the customer and the majors being hounded by the shareholders. The ONE thing that binds all of those people together (with the possible exception of the customer) is DRM. The major feels a little more secure "knowing" that their music can't be mass-reproduced, the DMS is happy because they can sell the content, the customer is happy because they can get the content, and the shareholder is happy because, well, there is an additional revenue stream.

    And FYI...I have never met a music executive who DOES NOT understand that DRM is nearly useless as far as protection of content goes. BUT... as I said above, it is the glue that keeps everything together.

    Go spend some time on Digital Music News to fully understand what is going on in the industry. It's not so simple and you cannot say definitively that DRM is harming the consumer because RIGHT NOW the only way to get that content is with DRM. Better than nothing, isn't it? Things will eventually change and this announcement from EMI is a very positive step forward. Don't trash the music industry as a whole until you understand it. I am certainly not saying it is full of kind-hearted souls (very far from it!) but there is more to it than just "let's fuck the consumer and the artist to make a buck!".

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:40PM (#18157276) Journal
    In Soviet hell.

    Magnatune et. al. are great, but it's not apples to apples. AllofMP3 sells the same music without DRM that you can only get with DRM in other outlets. Its all fine to bash the top 100 here on /., but there really is a lot of market there. If you ignore the legal loopholes AllofMP3 is exploiting (they're practically Americans!) you get to see a pay-for-quality model on mainstream music. It has much more applicability than trying to compare the major lables to smaller labels, or trying to glean some data from P2P networks, because the product and the market are the same.

    There must be some sort of Godwin's Law for AllofMP3 references.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:25PM (#18157904)

    I work for a company that's does ringtones. I'll let you know why it costs you 99 cents from iTunes and another $1.99 from Verizon. Its because the content providers charge differently for every use of the song. Want to sell ringtones? Oh, it'll cost you $1 every time someone downloads it to their phone. Want to use it on a website to show you even have it? That costs $X per month. Want to have it in an advertisement? That'll cost another fee. Want to show it to people at a trade show? Yep. Another fee. They see every use of the song as another way to earn money. They don't see you owning a CD. They see you playing their song for at the cost of a $19 license for a limited audience. MP3s will cost you extra. So will playing it on your PC. As is playing it on your phone.

    If you come up with something new and different that hasn't been done before, but uses their content, they'll find a way to charge for it.

    Fair use doesn't exist for these people.

  • Re:People will do it (Score:3, Informative)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @05:42PM (#18159024) Homepage Journal
    I know many Joe-sixpack types who used Napster. then switched to Kazaa then limewire. They are fully aware, if subconsciously about Free vs. DRM in terms of control.

    Of course, I invariably have to clean spyware up for these customers, but it goes to show that they are learning about the ramifications of vendor lock in and are not feeling obligated to pay obscene prices to major labels when free/free options are available.

    I've asked a few why they don't use iTunes instead and a few have remarked that computer upgrades resulted in their losing access to the music (read: they don't know how to back up the licenses), they don't have an iPod, but some other brand MP3 player (read: don't know to burn it to CD and re-rip it to MP3), or don't have a Mac (read: haven't noticed the availablility of iTunes for Windows). A couple have been savvy enough to tell me that they won't pay money for music from major labels every time the format changes, but that's generally the older generation which has bought the White Album on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, and now want a copy in "digital" format.

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